Trump Election Shocks Iranian Mullahs Regime

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The selection of Donald Trump as the next US president has shocked the Iranian regime. Iran’s state-run media reported that most Iranian officials were expecting Hillary Clinton to become the next US president, and many newspapers were ready to announce Hillary Clinton’s victory, but at the last minute, they had to change their front page story. Some state-run papers including the “Khabarjonoub” newspaper even published the news and then had to collect the papers and change the front page story.

The State-run “Khabarjounob” newspaper headline “Clinton Became the First Female President of the USA” (left) “Trump Holds the White House Key”

What made Iranian officials so disappointed is that the Obama era, meaning a concessions and appeasement policy, which they enjoyed for the last 8 years, has ended. Some of the Iranian officials expressed their sorrow for the end of the “golden era of Obama.” Some even went so far that they were accused by the media that they are more upset than the Democratic Party for the defeat of Hillary Clinton.

This feeling is shared with the appeasers too, and that is why we are starting to see many articles in the Western media about the “damage of Trump’s statements towards the nuclear deal and Iran.” Or statements such as if “the United States pull out of the nuclear pact, it will alienate Washington from its allies and potentially free Iran to act on its ambitions” or ” … this will let Iran walk away from its obligations under the JCPOA while pinning the responsibility on Washington”

iranian mullahs shocked by trump election.
Iran: mullahs shocked by Trump election. Not smiling now.

These are good statements to justify appeasing the mullahs, but the main perspective behind the appeasement policy was articulated by pro-Iran lobbies. The reasoning was that if the US government takes any action against Iran this would empower “the hard-liners” inside the regime and weaken “the moderates.”

Based on this notion for eight years, the Obama administration pursued total appeasement policies with the Iranian regime. All the sanctions were lifted. Iran’s ballistic missile tests were ignored. Iran’s destructive role in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon was ignored. More people in Iran were executed during the term of the so-called “moderate” Rouhani than any other government in Iran. Suppression of the Iranian people by the regime was ignored.

None of these appeasement policies changed the behavior of the Iranian regime. In fact, the Iranian regime became more emboldened and even started to harass US ships in the Persian gulf. They also took more dual citizens as hostages and demanded more ransom from the US for their release.

The historical record with the Iranian regime shows that appeasement policies do not mean diplomatic initiatives, it is only a sign of weakness. That is why none of the mullahs in Iran took Obama’s claim that “all options are on the table” seriously, just as they did not take Carter’s claims back in 1980. At that time, 52 American diplomats were taken hostage in Tehran, but on the day of Reagan’s inauguration they released the hostages. Also in 2003, Iran suspended all of its nuclear activities because it feared that the Bush administration, after invading Iraq, may target Iran next.

The logic and mentality of the mullahs is that if their counterpart is weak, they would exploit that weakness to the end, and pursue their own interests, but if they feel their counterpart is strong and means business, then they would back off. The appeasement policy is a sign of weakness, and it only emboldened Iran to continue to be a rogue country.

Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.